The Hazards of a National Geographic Photographer...

Reality Check

This page is dedicated to Wes Skiles who died doing the work he loved. Sadie Quarrier, senior photo editor, National Geographic Magazine says:   “I was lucky enough to work with Wes as his photo editor on (his) “Bahamas Blue Holes” story for NGM. He was deeply passionate about diving, exploring, photographing and protecting the waterways… Wes was big-hearted and humble yet extremely driven. He was doggedly determined to produce the best possible article on these caves he called home. He dared to dream big, and no budget or contract would stop him from going after a shot he felt we needed, even if it was on his own dime…”

There have been other deaths over the years and many serious injuries. The posts below are recent survey responses from 45 photographers about some of the hazards encountered while on assignment for the National Geographic Society. The numbers represent individual incidents.

It's a Glamorous Life

  • 2

    Teargassed

  • 1

    Hunted with Bows and Arrows

  • 1

    Chased by Crocodile

  • 10

    Rope Burn

  • 4

    Broken Bones

  • 12

    Severe Insect Problems

  • 5

    Plane or Helicopter Crash

  • 1

    Attack by 9,000 pound Elephant Seal

  • 21

    Threatened / Detained / Abducted

  • 2

    Held at Gunpoint

  • 1

    Punched in Face

  • 8

    Assorted Animal Attacks

  • 1

    Viper in Camera Bag

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Sea Ice

  • 20

    Amoebic Dysentery

  • 1

    Land on Rock Ledge After 90 Foot Fall

  • 2

    Fall Into Crevasse

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Tree

  • 33

    Arrest or House Arrest

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing in Ocean

  • 1

    Dengue Fever

  • 1

    Penis Fish

  • 3

    Trips into Chernobyl Reactor

  • 3

    Chased by Wild Elephant

  • 1

    Broken Tail Bone

  • 2

    Stoned by Religious Group

  • 1

    Scaffolding Collapse

  • 1

    Paraglider Crash Landing on Sea Ice

  • 1

    Streaming Blood While Hanging from Harness at 1500 feet

  • 8

    Giardia

  • 2

    Buried in Avalanche

  • 29

    Frostbite (23 for one photographer)

  • 1

    Lost at Sea

  • 3

    Imprisoned

  • 1

    Out of Air Diving Under Oil Rig

  • 7

    Dislocations

  • 1

    Flesh Eating Parasites

  • 7

    Car or Bus Crash

  • 1

    Lost on Arctic Ice

  • 1

    Bit by Ticks (in my penis)

  • 1

    Held at Knifepoint

  • 16

    Various Parasites

  • 2

    Temporary Blindness

  • 1

    Loa-Loa Worm in Eye

  • 21

    Paraglider Crash

  • 13

    Run Checkpoint

  • 2

    Groped

  • 1

    Hotel Surrounded by Rebels

  • 2

    Broken Nose

  • 6

    Broken Ribs

  • 2

    Seat Belt Releases with Helicopter Tipped Over Volcano

  • 9

    Groped

  • 30

    Wound Infection

  • 2

    Assault by Florida panther. 2 photographers, 2 assignments, same panther.

  • 12

    Falls

  • 4

    Tear Gassed

  • 3

    Extreme Toxins

  • 9

    Venomous Bites

  • 1

    Blinded by Wasps

  • 1

    Acid Dripping Caves

  • 13

    Robbed

  • 1

    Spitting Cobra Attacks

  • 19

    Severe Dehydration

  • 5

    Robbed

  • 90

    Severe Diarrhea

  • 5

    Malaria

  • 1

    Strongyloide Invasion

  • 1

    Diagnosed PTSD

  • 2

    Lost in Andes

  • 3

    Beaten

  • 1

    Stabbed

  • 1

    Meningitis

  • 9

    Hypothermia

  • 6

    Random Assault

  • 4

    Burns